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Wrestling: Wrestle-offs loom, will help decide Ohio State’s starting lineup

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Ohio State wrestling head coach Tom Ryan raises his fist after then-sophomore Gavin Hoffmann won his match during the Ohio State-Rutgers matchup on Jan. 24. Ohio State won 19-14. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor

The Ohio State wrestling team will have wrestle-offs Thursday at the Covelli Center to help determine who will start for the Buckeyes this season.

This will be the first time the Buckeyes wrestle in front of a crowd since the start of the pandemic. Associate head coach J Jaggers emphasized the team’s excitement to get back in front of their fans.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be back in the kind of atmosphere our team is used to,” Jaggers said. “Wrestle-offs create a unique opportunity for fans to see the development of the returning Buckeyes, as well as the first look at some of the new guys.”

A wrestle-off consists of one or multiple matches in each weight class, with the winner potentially being awarded the starting position for that weight class.

Although the wrestle-offs will play a role in the team’s starting lineup, Jaggers said it won’t be the lone deciding factor.

“Wrestle-offs won’t be the only metric we use in determining our lineup as there are variables like familiarity, redshirt availability,” Jaggers said. “However, it will be a great resource of information to start with.”

The Buckeyes held wrestle-offs for their 2020-21 shortened season, however, it was held privately at the Jennings Family Wrestling Practice Facility in Columbus.

While fans were able to watch the event via livestreams, Jaggers said nothing comes close to experiencing the event in person.

“There’s an energy that a packed arena brings that just makes things way more fun and entertaining,” Jaggers said. “Hopefully the long pause in being able to see our team compete live will bring fans back in full force for the wrestle-offs and our home opener Nov. 7 against North Carolina.”

As the Buckeyes return to the Covelli Center in front of a crowd, head coach Tom Ryan said it’s one of the best environments to compete.

“I’ve competed or coached in almost every facility in Division I wrestling, and Covelli, to me, is the best,” Ryan said. “It’s going to be a packed house and lots of fun.”

Prior to Thursday, there will be pre-wrestle-offs Tuesday behind closed doors. Every wrestler competes in this, and the two finalists from each wrestling bracket will face off Thursday night.

Following Tuesday’s prelims, the final matches will be released for Thursday.

The wrestle-offs are set for 8 p.m. and will be free admission.

The complete wrestle-off schedule for Tuesday and Thursday is below.

Tuesday

133 pounds — Phillip Kue vs. Chase Liardi

133 pounds — Kue/Liardi vs. Dylan Koontz

133 pounds — Alex Flerlage vs. Andre Gonzales

141 pounds — Anthony Echemendia vs. Jordan Decatur

157 pounds — Kevon Freeman vs. Jashon Hubbard

157 pounds — Freeman/Hubbard vs. Isaac Wilcox

174 pounds — Fritz Schierl vs. Bryer Hall

285 pounds — Mike Misita vs. Hogan Swenski

Thursday

125 pounds — Malik Heinselman vs. AJ Crews

133 pounds — To Be Determined

141 pounds — Echemendia/Decatur vs. Dylan D’Emilio

149 pounds — Sammy Sasso vs. Klay Reeves

157 pounds — To Be Determined vs. Paddy Gallagher

165 pounds — Carson Kharchla vs. Cade Hepner

174 pounds — Schierl/Hall vs. Ethan Smith

184 pounds — Kaleb Romero vs. Rocky Jordan

197 pounds — Gavin Hoffman vs. Tyler Stein

285 pounds — Mistia/Swenski vs. Tate Orndorff

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